USA and the UK
- What is Irish citizenship by naturalization?
- What is reckonable residence in Ireland?
- What are the residency requirements for Irish citizenship by naturalization?
- What is the application process for Irish citizenship by naturalization?
- What supporting documents are required?
- Can I apply for Irish citizenship through marriage?
- What is the fee for an Irish citizenship application?
- What is the waiting time for Irish citizenship?
- What is the Irish citizenship ceremony?
- What is Irish citizenship by birth?
- What is Irish citizenship by descent?
- How to apply for an Irish passport?
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Irish citizenship by naturalization?
Irish citizenship by naturalization is a route intended for foreign nationals who have been living in Ireland for a certain qualifying period of time. To be able to submit the Irish citizenship application, a foreign citizen has to have spent at least 5 years in Ireland. In certain circumstances such as when the person is married to an Irish citizen, this requirement is shortened to just 3 years.
The time requirement is known as reckonable residence and it is the most fundamental requirement in the process of becoming an Irish citizen by naturalization. Nevertheless, there are a number of other requirements that the individual living in Ireland needs to meet to be able to apply for Irish citizenship. These include:
- They are at least 18 years old (unless they are married, then they can apply for citizenship even if they are under 18)
- They are of good character
- They agree to make a declaration of loyalty to Ireland
- They declare their commitment to respect the rule of law and democratic values of Ireland.
The good character requirement means that the person applying for Irish citizenship has not previously committed serious crimes and has not previously breached the conditions of their Irish visa.
What is reckonable residence in Ireland?
To be considered for Irish citizenship, you have to have lawfully lived in Ireland for a certain period of time known as reckonable residence. Not all your past visits to Ireland will count towards reckonable residence, however. If you have previously spent some time in Ireland on a Tourist or Internship Visa, this will not count towards Irish citizenship time requirements.
- Stamp 1
- Stamp 1G
- Stamp 3
- Stamp 4
- Stamp 5.
When applying for Irish citizenship by naturalization, you will have to prove the length of your residency in Ireland. You can do it by showing stamps in your passport or submitting documents from the Department of Justice & Equality that confirm the types of immigration permissions you received.
If you have spent long periods of time abroad while being resident in Ireland, you will have to explain the absences. Similarly, you will have to explain any gaps in your immigration history.
What are the residency requirements for Irish citizenship by naturalization?
In most cases, to be able to submit your Irish citizenship application, you have to have lived in Ireland for at least 5 years. If you are married to an Irish citizen, you can apply for Irish citizenship sooner, after just 3 years. Those who are living in Ireland with refugee status also can apply for citizenship after spending 3 years in the country.
For EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals, any time that they spend in Ireland will count towards reckonable residence.
Both non-EEA and EEA citizens who want to apply for Irish citizenship have to meet the following residency requirements:
- They have been legally resident in Ireland for 5 out of 9 years preceding the citizenship application
- They spent one year of continuous residence in Ireland immediately prior to the citizenship application.
You are allowed to leave Ireland in the year preceding your citizenship application for a maximum of 6 weeks without breaking the continuous residency period.
If you are not sure whether you meet the residency requirements to apply for Irish citizenship, get in touch with our lawyers. They will assess your circumstances and determine whether you can submit your application.
What is the application process for Irish citizenship by naturalization?
Once you establish that you are eligible for Irish citizenship by naturalization, you can begin the application process. The first step is to complete the relevant application form. Then you need to gather supporting documents that prove your eligibility for Irish citizenship. The exact documents you have to provide vary depending on your individual circumstances. Our lawyers can tell you in detail what evidence you have to prepare.
Once you have all the documents ready, you have to send your application for processing to the relevant application office. When the immigration office receives your application they will check if you have done the following:
- Used the most recent version of the application form
- Paid the application fee
- Included all the necessary documents
- Completed the required statutory declarations.
If you do not provide some of the documents, you will have 28 days to submit them. If you fail to do it, your Irish citizenship application will most likely be rejected. Sometimes, immigration officials might also ask you for more information or details.
Keep in mind that even if you provide all the necessary information and documents, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. The Minister for Justice has discretion in granting citizenship to applicants.
If your application is approved, you will have to attend your citizenship ceremony during which you will make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State. You will then receive a Certificate of Naturalisation. The ceremony is the last step in the process of applying for Irish citizenship by naturalization.
Unfortunately, in the event that your application is refused, there is no appeal process and you will not get a refund for any fees you paid. You can, however, try to apply again.
What supporting documents are required?
As part of the application process for Irish citizenship, you have to provide a number of supporting documents that prove your eligibility. The specific documents you need to include in your application depend on your individual situation but evidence that all applicants have to submit includes:
- Your valid passport
- Any other passports you held since you arrived in Ireland
- Proof of your residency in Ireland
- Two passport-sized photographs in color with the date and signature on the back
- Certified copy of your birth certificate
- Certified copy of your Irish Residence Permit
- Copy of permission to remain letters you received from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
- Bank statements for all your bank account for the period of at least 3 out of 6 months preceding the citizenship application
- Letter from your current employer confirming the date when you started working (if you are working in Ireland)
- Certified copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate (if you are in a relationship with an Irish citizen).
Any documents that are in a language other than English or Irish need to be translated by an accredited translator. Our lawyers can help you gather all the documents that might be required, helping you avoid delays caused by missing evidence. Thanks to their help you can be sure that you are submitting enough evidence to prove that you are eligible for Irish citizenship.
Can I apply for Irish citizenship through marriage?
If you are married to or in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen, you can apply for Irish citizenship through marriage. In fact, it is one of the quickest routes to Irish citizenship as you can submit your application after living in Ireland for 3 years rather than having to spend at least 5 years as per the regular time requirement for citizenship.
Keep in mind that you have to have spent the required 3 years of reckonable residence in Ireland during the 5 years preceding your citizenship application. You also have to have spent 1 year of continuous residence in Ireland immediately prior to your application,
In addition to these time requirements, you have to meet the following conditions in order to be able to apply for Irish citizenship through marriage:
- You are 18 years of age or older
- You are married to or in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen
- Your marriage or civil partnership is recognized under Irish law
- You and your partner have been living together
- You and your partner plan to stay together and live in Ireland permanently
- You agree to make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State during the citizenship ceremony
- You can provide evidence confirming that your relationship is genuine
- You can prove that you are of good character
- You commit to respecting the laws and values of Ireland
Being married to an Irish citizen does not give you the automatic right to apply for Irish citizenship. To be able to submit your application, you need to meet numerous requirements. If your application for Irish citizenship through marriage is approved, you will be able to live in Ireland with your partner without any restrictions. You will be able to keep your citizenship even if you and your partner get divorced.
What is the fee for an Irish citizenship application?
The fee for an Irish citizenship application is €175. You have to be aware of the fact that this fee is non-refundable so you will not get your money back even if your application is rejected.
If your Irish citizenship application is approved, you will also have to pay a fee for your Certificate of Naturalisation. The fees for that are:
- €950 for adults
- €200 for minors
- €200 for widows, widowers, and surviving partners of Irish citizens.
Those who are living in Ireland with refugee status do not have to pay the fee for their Certificate of Naturalisation.
To pay for both the application fee and the Certificate of Naturalisation you have to use the bank draft payment method. No other payment methods are accepted and both payments have to be drawn from an Irish bank and made payable to the Secretary-General, Department of Justice & Equality.
During the application process for your Irish citizenship, you might also have to pay other fees, for example, for having certain documents issued or translated. And, if you want to apply for an Irish passport later, you will also have to pay additional fees.
What is the waiting time for Irish citizenship?
The waiting time for Irish citizenship varies as each case is unique. If your circumstances are complex, you might have to wait longer than other applicants applying at the same time. Nevertheless, most applications are processed within 12 months of the date of the immigration office receiving your application.
The waiting time can be longer if you forget to include some of the required documents, however. If that happens, you will have 28 days to provide them. During this period, the processing of your application will be put on hold.
After the initial processing, your application will be sent to the Minister of Justice & Equality for consideration. They make the final decision on whether to approve your Irish citizenship application.
If your application is approved, you will receive a letter from Immigration Service Delivery. You will also get an invitation to attend a citizenship ceremony during which you will receive your naturalization certificate, confirming your Irish citizenship. You need to go to your ceremony to finalize the process of becoming an Irish citizen. Citizenship ceremonies are held a few times a year and they usually last a couple of hours.
What is the Irish citizenship ceremony?
If your application for Irish citizenship is accepted, you will receive an invitation to attend a citizenship ceremony. Typically, you will receive the invitation at least 4 weeks before it is due to happen.
Taking part in the ceremony is the final step of the application process to become an Irish citizen by naturalization. During the ceremony, you have to make a formal declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the Republic of Ireland. You will be given the words of the declaration beforehand so you do not have to worry about memorizing them.
Your invitation letter will explain what documents you need to take with you to complete the application process. Usually, you have to bring your Irish Residence Permit and official identification such as your national ID or passport from your country of origin.
When you arrive at the ceremony, you need to register. After you complete the registration, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalisation, which serves as proof of your Irish citizenship. Make sure to keep it safe as it is impossible to replace it. If at some point you lose your certificate, you will be issued a statement confirming your Irish citizenship instead.
During registration, you will also receive a ceremony booklet where you can find the following information:
- Details regarding applying for your Irish passport
- Explanation of your right to register to vote
- Circumstances in which your Irish citizenship can be revoked
- Words of the Irish national anthem.
You can bring one guest to the ceremony and the event, which usually lasts a few hours, will be streamed online.
What is Irish citizenship by birth?
Before a referendum in 2004, all individuals born on the island of Ireland had the right to Irish citizenship. So, those who were born in Ireland before 1 January 2005 are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.
Those who were born in Ireland after 31 December 2004 are entitled to Irish citizenship if at least one of their parents was an Irish or UK citizen at the time of their birth.
People who were born abroad but either of their parents was an Irish citizen at the time of their birth also automatically become Irish citizens by birth.
These rules apply not only when parents were born in Ireland themselves but also when they became Irish citizens by naturalization later in their lives.
To claim Irish citizenship by birth, eligible individuals need to have their birth registered in the Foreign Births Register. If you determine that you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth and you want to register your birth, you need to provide the following documents:
- Your birth certificate
- Your passport
- Two proofs of address
- Four passport-size photographs
- A birth certificate confirming the Irish citizenship of the person you want to get your citizenship through
- Photocopy of an identification document of the person you are basing your application on
- Death certificate if the person you are applying through has passed away
Your Irish citizenship will be effective from the registration date.
What is Irish citizenship by descent?
If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you might be able to get Irish citizenship by descent even if you were born abroad to parents who were not Irish citizens. That means that if one of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you can become an Irish citizen.
You can claim your Irish citizenship by descent through grandparents but not through other ancestors such as cousins, uncles, or aunts. To become an Irish citizen by descent, you need to register your birth in the Foreign Births Register.
Keep in mind that to claim Irish citizenship by descent, you usually have to prove that you have a connection to Ireland. To demonstrate it, you can, for example, provide evidence showing that you have spent a lot of time legally residing in Ireland.
If you are not sure how to claim your Irish citizenship by descent, get in touch with our lawyers. They have helped many clients successfully become Irish citizens and they explain to you in detail how you can register your birth in the Foreign Births Register. They will also help you gather documents that confirm your connection to Ireland.
How to apply for an Irish passport?
Once you receive your naturalization certificate and you officially become an Irish citizen, you can apply for your Irish passport. To do so, you have to complete an online application form. Alternatively, you can go to the post office to send your application or meet someone working in a Passport Office counter service. Nevertheless, these two options are more expensive and take more time than applying online.
To successfully obtain your Irish passport, you have to submit the following documents:
- Identity document with a photograph, for example, your national id or driver’s license
- Proof of your Irish citizenship (your naturalization certificate if you became an Irish citizen by naturalization)
- 4 passport size photographs (make sure to sign and date 2 of them)
- Proof of address in the form of, for example, utility bills or bank statements.
Keep in mind that all documents have to be original.
As part of the application process for your Irish passport, you have to pay the relevant fees. For a standard passport with 34 pages, valid for 10 years, you have to pay:
- €75 if you are applying online (you need to pay €5 extra if you live outside of Ireland)
- €80 if you are using the Passport Express application (and €9,50 extra for shipping)
- €95 if you are applying in person.
For a larger passport with 66 pages, you need to pay €105.
The waiting time for an Irish passport is between 6 to 8 weeks on average for those applying for their first passport.
The Irish passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world. Those who hold it can travel to 187 countries without having to obtain a visa. Moreover, Ireland is a member state of the European Union so holders of the Irish passport can:
- Travel freely between EU member states
- Work in EU member states without having to obtain work permits
- Study in EU member states without needing a visa.
If you have children, you will pass your Irish and EU citizenship to them and you will be able to apply for an Irish passport for them.
How can IAS help?
Applying for Irish citizenship can be complicated as there are many requirements you need to meet and documents you have to provide to prove your eligibility. The exact evidence and criteria vary depending on the route you want to venture down to get your Irish citizenship.
Our lawyers can assess your circumstances and help you whether you are eligible to become an Irish citizen. If so, they can guide you through each step of the application process, making it straightforward and stress-free. Your immigration lawyer will be around to answer all your questions and clear any doubts you might have.
At IAS, we have a team of dedicated lawyers who are committed to helping clients immigrate to Ireland. Thanks to their professional help you will be able to complete your immigration journey and become an Irish citizen, gaining the right to stay in the country permanently without any restrictions.
If during the application process you do not provide sufficient evidence confirming your eligibility for Irish citizenship, your application might be rejected. You can minimize the risks of that happening by hiring an immigration lawyer. They will review your application before you submit it to make sure you included all the supporting documents and completed all the forms correctly.
Call us today at +1 844 290 6312 to find out more about how our team can help.
Last modified on August 8th, 2023 at 5:07 am
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Children who were not Irish citizens at the time of their birth but were adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where at least one person is an Irish citizen can become Irish citizens.
When a person who is an Irish citizen adopts a child abroad, they have to apply for the adoption to be added to the Register of Intercountry Adoptions. When the adoption is entered into the system, it will have the same status as adoptions finalized in Ireland. After that, the adopted child will automatically become an Irish citizen.
Irish parents who are waiting for adoption made abroad to be recognized in Ireland, need to obtain immigration clearance from the Department of Justice. Only after they get it will they be able to bring the child into Ireland. To receive the clearance they have to complete the assessment procedure and receive an affirmative declaration from the Adoption Authority of Ireland.
As part of the application process for Irish citizenship through marriage, you have to pay the fee of €175. This fee is non-refundable so you will not get your money back even if your application is unsuccessful. You must pay the fee using the bank draft payment method with the payment drawn on an Irish bank and made payable to the Secretary-General, Department of Justice & Equality. Other payment methods are not accepted.
Those who successfully apply for their Irish citizenship through marriage have to pay an additional fee of €950 for their certificate of naturalization. This fee you have to pay only if your application is approved.
There might also be additional fees you need to pay, for example, for getting your supporting documents translated or issued.
After you submit your application and all the supporting documents, immigration officials will review them. Typically applications are processed within 12 months but the waiting time can be longer if your case is complex or if you fail to provide some of the required evidence.
Within a few weeks from you sending the application over, you will receive a notification from Immigration Service Delivery saying that your application has passed the initial processing stage.
If your application is accepted, you will receive a letter from Immigration Service Delivery confirming it. You will then have to pay the fee for your naturalization certificate and wait for an invitation to your citizenship ceremony. You should receive the invitation at least 4 weeks before the planned ceremony date.
If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the refusal. There is no appeal process for citizenship applications but you can try to apply again.
You can also apply to the High Court for a judicial review if you believe that immigration officials acted in an unfair manner when reviewing your application. It is advisable that you get in touch with an immigration lawyer before you do that, however. They can assess your situation and tell you what the right course of action is.
To be able to obtain Irish citizenship, you have to demonstrate that you are of good character. It is an important requirement in the application process for Irish citizenship. If you cannot prove that you meet this criterion, your application will be rejected.
Being of good character means that you obey the laws and you have not previously committed serious crimes. It also means that you promise to respect the laws and values of Ireland and that you agree to make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the Republic of Ireland during your citizenship ceremony.
To determine whether you meet the good character requirement, immigration officials will look at any previous crimes you have been convicted of and will investigate whether you previously breached the conditions of any Irish visas. They will also verify the information you included in your application to make sure you did not lie. If they conclude that you provided information that is not true, your citizenship application will most likely be automatically rejected.
Reckonable residence in Ireland refers to the time requirement that those wanting to apply for Irish citizenship have to meet. To be able to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalization, you have to have been living in Ireland for 5 years. If you are married to an Irish citizen, you can apply for naturalization sooner, after just 3 years.
Keep in mind that the 5 years of reckonable residence have to be during the previous nine years. In addition to that, you have to have spent one year of continuous residence in Ireland right before submitting your application. During this one year, you can leave Ireland for a maximum of 6 weeks without breaking your continuous residency.
Not all your past visits to Ireland count towards reckonable residence. Examples of periods that do include:
- The time you spent in Ireland as an employment permit holder
- The time you spent in Ireland with Stamp 4
- The time you spent in Ireland as the dependent of an employment permit holder
- The time you spent in Ireland as a spouse or civil partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit
- The time you spent in Ireland as a spouse or civil partner of a researcher who came to Ireland under a hosting agreement
- The time you spent in Ireland with Stamp 5.
If you have previously been to Ireland on a Short Stay ‘C’ Visa such as the Tourist Visa or the Business Visa, these visits do not qualify as reckonable residence.
Our lawyers can review your immigration history and help you calculate your reckonable residence in Ireland.
Irish immigration stamps are placed on the passports of non-EEA citizens coming to Ireland on various visas. They indicate what rights they have and what conditions they need to follow during their stay in Ireland. Stamp 4 is granted to, for example, people coming to Ireland on the Critical Skills Employment Permit, those who have been legally resident in Ireland for at least 5 years, or spouses of Irish citizens.
Those who have Stamp 4 on their passports can take up employment without having to obtain an employment permit. They can also start their own business and have access to state services. Stamp 4 counts towards reckonable residence in Ireland so its holders can apply for Irish citizenship after living in Ireland for a certain amount of time, typically 5 years. If the holder of Stamp 4 is married to an Irish citizen, the time required to be eligible for Irish citizenship is 3 years.
Stamp 4 is renewable and, after living in Ireland for a certain period of time, its holders can apply to convert it to Stamp 5, which is granted to those who hold permanent residence in Ireland.